The Oxford Handbook of Victorian Medievalism (Oxford Handbooks) (Paperback)

The Oxford Handbook of Victorian Medievalism (Oxford Handbooks) By Joanne Parker (Editor), Corinna Wagner (Editor) Cover Image
By Joanne Parker (Editor), Corinna Wagner (Editor)
Most titles are on our shelves or available within 1-5 days.


In 1859, the historian Lord John Acton asserted: 'two great principles divide the world, and contend for the mastery, antiquity and the middle ages'. The influence on Victorian culture of the 'Middle Ages' (broadly understood then as the centuries between the Roman Empire and the Renaissance) was both pervasive and multi-faceted. This 'medievalism' led, for instance, to the rituals and ornament of the Medieval Catholic church being reintroduced to Anglicanism. It led to the Saxon Witan being celebrated as a prototypical representative parliament. It resulted in Viking raiders being acclaimed as the forefathers of the British navy. And it encouraged innumerable nineteenth-century men to cultivate the superlative beards we now think of as typically 'Victorian'--in an attempt to emulate their Anglo-Saxon forefathers.

Different facets of medieval life, and different periods before the Renaissance, were utilized in nineteenth-century Britain for divergent political and cultural agendas. Medievalism also became a dominant mode in Victorian art and architecture, with 75 per cent of churches in England built on a Gothic rather than a classical model. And it was pervasive in a wide variety of literary forms, from translated sagas to pseudo-medieval devotional verse to triple-decker novels. Medievalism even transformed nineteenth-century domesticity: while only a minority added moats and portcullises to their homes, the medieval-style textiles produced by Morris and Co. decorated many affluent drawing rooms. The Oxford Handbook of Victorian Medievalism is the first work to examine in full the fascinating phenomenon of 'medievalism' in Victorian Britain. Covering art, architecture, religion, literature, politics, music, and social reform, the Handbook also surveys earlier forms of antiquarianism that established the groundwork for Victorian movements. In addition, this collection addresses the international context, by mapping the spread of medievalism across Europe, South America, and India, amongst other places.

About the Author

Joanne Parker, Associate Professor of Victorian Literature and Culture, University of Exeter, Corinna Wagner, Professor of Visual and Literary Arts, University of Exeter Joanne Parker is Associate Professor of Victorian Literature and Culture at the University of Exeter. Her previous publications include England's Darling: The Victorian Cult of Alfred the Great (Manchester University Press, 2007) and Britannia Obscura: Mapping Hidden Britain (Jonathan Cape, 2014), which was one of 12 books long-listed for the Thwaites Wainwright Prize, 2014. She has also published on the Victorian legends of Robin Hood and King Arthur, on the nineteenth-century reception of prehistoric megaliths, on the Victorians and the Battle of Brunanburgh, and on the late nineteenth-century obsession with live gibbetting. Corinna Wagner is Professor of Visual and Literary Arts at the University of Exeter. Her publications on the subject of medicine and the arts include Pathological Bodies: Medicine and Political Culture (University of California, 2013) and A Body of Work: An Anthology of Poetry and Medicine (Bloomsbury, 2016). More recently, she has contributed chapters to Literature and the History of Medicine (Cambridge, 2019), The Cambridge History of the Gothic (2019), and The Anatomy of the Image: Perspectives on the (Bio)medical Body in Science, Literature, Culture and Politics (Brill, 2020). She has also published on gothic revival architecture, and the relationship between science, the gothic, and medievalism.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780198883340
ISBN-10: 019888334X
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication Date: September 22nd, 2023
Pages: 720
Language: English
Series: Oxford Handbooks